After being rescued from the destroyed arena in the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, along with fellow tributes Beetee and Finnick Odair, are taken to District 13, now an underground district isolated from Panem that has been spearheading the rebellion. There she is reunited with her mother and sister Prim. While recuperating, she is introduced to President Alma Coin, the rebel leader, and is told that her actions in the arena sparked riots and strikes against the Capitol. Coin asks her to become the "Mockingjay"—the symbol of the rebellion—as part of their "hearts and minds" strategy but Katniss declines. After seeing how Peeta is being manipulated by Capitol state television to quell the rebellion, Katniss reluctantly agrees to become Coin's Mockingjay on the condition that Peeta and the other captured victors will be rescued and pardoned at the earliest opportunity at Coin's initial admonition, who had originally planned to have Peeta, Enobaria, Johanna and Annie tried for war crimes.
After Haymitch notes that Katniss thrives on spontaneity, she meets her film team (led by Capitol escapee Cressida), is dressed up in a specially-designed outfit, and is given Effie Trinket as a stylist and close friend Gale as a bodyguard. They go out to District 8 to visit a hospital, but as the visit concludes, a Capitol bombing squadron arrives and bombs the hospital, killing everyone inside. In her rage, Katniss gives a rousing speech to the camera, which is broadcast when Beetee hijacks the Capitol's news feed. After it is broadcast, strikers in District 7 kill an entire team of Peacekeepers with hidden land mines, with them climbing trees to safety.
After seeing a weakened Peeta on a TV propo (propaganda shots) the team return to District 12, where Gale reports on District 12's destruction; Katniss is filmed singing "The Hanging Tree". Soon after, hundreds of protesters in District 5, singing the same anthem, launch a suicidal human wave attack against a hydroelectric dam that is the Capitol's primary source of electricity. The attack destroys the dam, and causes a power cut in the Capitol, forcing the Capitol to revert to backup power generators and weakening their ability to broadcast propaganda.
That night, Katniss watches Peeta being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman, the Games' former presenter, when Coin and Beetee hijack the signal to air a clip of Katniss. After seeing it, Peeta shouts a warning that the Capitol is about to attack District 13. Coin orders a mass evacuation into deep underground shelters and the facility survives the attack unharmed. Upon emerging, Katniss discovers the area littered with white roses, and realizes President Snow sent them to taunt her, and presumes that he will kill Peeta. As Peeta's warning gave the District an additional eight minutes evacuation time, Coin dispatches an elite special forces team, which includes Gale, to rescue him, along with Johanna Mason, and Annie Cresta, the remaining Victors, from their prison in the Capitol's Tribute center. Finnick distracts the Capitol by narrating a propo revealing of how he had been forced by Snow to sell himself for the Capitol, like other attractive tributes. Despite Snow taunting Katniss of his awareness of the rescue, it is successful with surprisingly minimum opposition from Capitol, indicating that they have reduced the security on purpose. When Katniss goes to greet Peeta, he unexpectedly attacks and strangles her into unconsciousness, before being knocked out by Boggs.
Katniss wakes up in the medical facility, and is informed that Peeta has been "hijacked" — a form of physical/mental torture in which he is brainwashed into wanting to kill Katniss by associating memories of her with the psychological terror created by tracker jacker venom, which explains why the Capitol allowed Boggs's team to escape. Peeta is restrained to a bed and placed in solitary confinement, while a serum is being developed to reverse the hijacking effects. Meanwhile, Coin announces that the Victors have been rescued; their next objective is the Capitol's principal military stronghold in the ravines on District 2. The film ends with Katniss looking over at Peeta as he thrashes around to try to escape from his bindings.
On July 10, 2012, Lionsgate announced that the third and final installment in the series, Mockingjay, would be split into two parts. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released on November 21, 2014 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 was released on November 20, 2015. Many directors, including Rian Johnson, Francis Lawrence and Alfonso Cuarón were considered for the job. On November 1, 2012, Lawrence, director of Catching Fire, announced he would return to direct both final parts in the series.
On December 6, 2012, Danny Strong announced that he would be writing the third and fourth films. On February 15, 2013, Lionsgate confirmed the script for Part 1 was written by Strong, giving him permission to write Part 2. Later in August, Hemsworth confirmed that shooting of the film would begin in September 2013.
The film's production began on September 16, 2013 in Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. Studio Babelsberg co-produced and oversaw production services for the film. On November 13, 2013, Nina Jacobson revealed that Peter Craig was also hired to write the adaptations.
On August 26, 2013, it was announced that actress Stef Dawson had joined the cast and would portray Annie Cresta. Lionsgate announced on September 13, 2013 that Julianne Moore had joined the cast of both Mockingjay's parts to play President Alma Coin. Over the next month, Patina Miller, Mahershala Ali, Wes Chatham, and Elden Henson joined the cast as Commander Paylor, Boggs, Castor, and Pollux, respectively. There was a casting call for extras on September 23. Robert Knepper was cast as Antonius, a character who does not appear in the books and is an addition to the adaptation. Knepper has stated that during his audition he knew that the lines he received were not what he would end up doing, adding that "they [Lionsgate] are so secretive about this."
Shooting began on September 23, 2013 in Atlanta and concluded on June 20, 2014 in Berlin. Part 1 was filmed back-to-back with Part 2. In mid-October, the crews were spotted filming in Rockmart. The crew and cast took a break to promote The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and filming resumed on December 2, 2013. On December 14, 2013 shooting took place at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta. On December 18, shooting began at Caldwell Tanks in Newnan, Georgia.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Plutarch Heavensbee in the film, died on February 2, 2014 in New York. Lionsgate released a statement stating that Hoffman had completed filming most of his scenes prior to his death.
On April 18, 2014, producer Nina Jacobson announced that filming in Atlanta had just wrapped up, followed by director Francis Lawrence announcing the next day about moving production to Europe. It was announced that they would be filming battle scenes in Paris and at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. They began filming in the streets of Paris and in the city of Ivry-sur-Seine on May 7, where Lawrence and Hemsworth were spotted during the filming of some scenes among extras.
On May 9, it was reported that filming was taking place in Noisy le Grand, Paris where Lawrence, Hemsworth, Hutcherson, and Claflin were spotted on the set which re-created the world of Panem. It is the same location where Brazil was filmed in 1984.
Christian Cordella, a costume illustrator on the first movie, returned to sketch the outfits for District 13.
The music was created to convey the dark feel of the film. On October 9, 2014, it was revealed that the Trinity School boys' choir recorded tracks for the score, written by James Newton Howard. Jennifer Lawrence performed the film's version of the song "The Hanging Tree", originally featured in the novel, but was not thrilled about having to sing and cried the day of the performance. As of the evening of November 25, 2014, the song was #4 on the Apple's iTunes top 150 list. "The Hanging Tree" also peaked at #1 in Austria and Hungary and peaked at #12 on Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
Tim Palen, the head of marketing for Lionsgate said, "When we started, we decided to look at this as one big movie that's eight hours long. Otherwise, it's going to be kind of overwhelming to do a new campaign for each movie." He also added that he saw the biggest potential in international growth and that they matched Iron Man 3 domestically, but were aiming to improve internationally for the two Mockingjay films. He revealed in an interview with Variety that there would be reveals of the marketing campaign at the Cannes Film Festival in May and San Diego Comic Con in July.
On May 14, 2014 TheHungerGamesExclusive.com was launched. It featured three stills from the movie, featuring Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright with an additional behind-the-scenes still of director Francis Lawrence and Mahershala Ali. The website also featured other content, including a short GIF image of Julianne Moore as President Coin and a video interview with Moore. There was also an in-depth interview with director Francis Lawrence, producer Nina Jacobson and screenwriter Peter Craig. A page from the script of Part 1 was also released in addition to a motion poster, with the tagline, "Fire burns brighter in the darkness."
On May 17, 2014, while principal photography was underway in Paris, some of the cast and crew including Lawrence, Hutcherson, Hemsworth, Claflin, Moore, Sutherland, Lawrence, and Jacobson attended the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for a photo shoot and party bash to excite international investors. Co-chairman of Lionsgate Rob Friedman said in response to why they would incur such big expense even though the film isn't actually playing at the festival that it was convenient as the cast were in Europe already and that "it's a big opportunity for our international distributors to actually hear what the worldwide plans are for the film, which opens in November. Cannes is the best publicity opportunity from an international penetration perspective."
Kabam announced their partnership with Lionsgate to create a mobile game based on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, to tie in with the film's release. Kabam produced an exclusive role playing, card collection mobile game. In the game, players assume the identity of District members sent on a mission in order to build their alliance, liberate their District, and rebuild Panem. "Lionsgate has an unparalleled track record of developing and producing blockbuster movie franchises like The Hunger Games," said Kabam Chief Operating Officer Kent Wakeford. "Partnering with Lionsgate, Kabam will build a mobile game that's as much fun to play as the movie is to watch. The game will be developed in Kabam's China studio, the same place where the hit film-based game The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was created and went on to generate more than $100 million in revenue during its first year."
The first teaser trailers for the film debuted in late June and early July and were unconventionally styled as in-universe viral video pieces (see Viral Marketing) below.
The film was not listed on the schedule for San Diego Comic-Con International 2014, which raised questions on their absence by fans and the press. Lionsgate announced on July 18, 2014, a week before the event, that the film would have a presence at the convention. Lionsgate partnered up with Samsung to debut the (including the viral videos which were considered 'teasers', third) teaser trailer on Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S at a special event on Friday, July 25, which was being hosted off-site at the Hard Rock Hotel. The partnership allowed Samsung users to view the trailer before the online release, download the first two movies for free as well as be given a free complimentary ticket to the movie. On July 28, the teaser trailer officially debuted online through the movie's official Facebook page and YouTube account. Within minutes, #MockingjayTeaserTrailerToday, #OurLeadertheMockingjay, and #OfficialTeaserTrailer became trending topics worldwide on Twitter. A full worldwide official trailer was released on September 15. The final trailer was released on October 29 to mark the beginning of ticket pre-sales.
A viral marketing campaign began on June 21, 2014 with the return of TheCapitol.PN a "government" website for Panem which was used throughout the promotion for the previous two films. In conjunction with Yahoo and their new partnership with Tumblr, they released the 'District Heroes Collection' which featured several posters representing seven of the thirteen districts in Panem. The website opened registrations for "citizens of Panem" to register with their email to receive updates for Capitol TV.
On June 25, TheCapitol.PN viral site released a video titled "President Snow's Address - 'Together As One'" featuring a speech by Donald Sutherland, in character as President Snow addressing the citizens of Panem and warning them that if they fight the system, they will be the ones to face the repercussions. The video also briefly features Josh Hutcherson, in character as Peeta Mellark, who at the final events of the previous film was taken hostage by the Capitol. The video went viral on YouTube becoming the most watched trailer during the last week of June in the US while trending as the most "Popular Video on YouTube" in Australia and Canada. The video, billed as a teaser trailer, was attached to screenings of Transformers: Age of Extinction beginning June 28.
Two weeks later on July 9, Capitol TV released a second viral video titled 'President Snow's Address — Unity' featuring again another speech by President Snow with Peeta Mellark standing beside him, but this time accompanied by Jena Malone in character as Johanna Mason, who was also captured by the Capitol at the end of the previous film, and a group of peacekeepers. The speech, however, was interrupted by Jeffrey Wright, in character as Beetee Latier, a technician from District 13, to announce that "the Mockingjay lives." Within minutes, #TheMockingjayLives and '#2 - Unity' became the top two trending topics worldwide on Twitter. The video, billed as the second teaser trailer for the film, was played with screenings of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
On July 24, shortly before the trailer's official release, a teaser poster for the movie was posted on The Capitol's Instagram account, but was quickly deleted. Shortly after the removal of the poster, the account issued an apology "[for the] technical issues", presenting the poster's posting as a hack from the District 13 rebellions.
On August 6, after few clues given on the official Facebook page, www.district13.co.in was launched. The website introduced new posters for the District 13 characters including Beetee, Coin, Plutarch, Finnick, Haymitch and Effie.
On November 20, 2014, some showings were reportedly canceled in Thailand because protestors were using the three-finger salute at demonstrations against the country's military government.
On November 24, 2014, it was reported that in relation to the Ferguson unrest regarding the shooting of Michael Brown, a protester had scrawled graffiti reading "If we burn, you burn" on an arch in St. Louis, Missouri. In the film and associated novel, the character Katniss Everdeen uses the phrase as a challenge to the ruling administration after she shoots down two of the planes with which it bombs a hospital. The cry is then taken up by various citizens in Panem as they commit acts of resistance.
On November 27, 2014, Hong Kong protestors used the three-finger salute while occupying Mong Kok.
On September 11, 2015, some Catalan pro-independence protestors were using the three-finger salute at the Free Way to the Catalan Republic against Spain's government.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released on November 19, 2014, in 9 territories including France, Greece, Scandinavia and Brazil, and then expanded to a further 59 on November 20, 2014, including the UK, Germany, Australia, Italy, Mexico and South Korea. With 17 more released on November 21, 2014 including the United States, the total launch was in 85 markets, making it the biggest release of the year and Lionsgate's widest release ever. This was surpassed by its sequel across 87 markets in 2015. The film was released in China on February 8, 2015 in 2D and 3D, making it the first film in the franchise to be released in 3D in any territory and debuted in more than 4,000 screens. Director Francis Lawrence stated: "we recently saw the 3-D version of Mockingjay – Part 1 before its release in China, and the new level of immersion was really fantastic."
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was released on Digital HD on February 17, 2015, and was followed by a Blu-ray/DVD release on March 6, 2015. It topped the home video sales chart for two consecutive weeks despite facing competition from Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 grossed $337.1 million in the USA & Canada, and $415 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $752.1 million against $125 million budget ($190 million including promotion and advertising costs). Calculating in all expenses, Deadline.com estimated that the film made a profit of $211.61 million. Wordwide, it is the fifth highest-grossing film of 2014. Its worldwide opening of $273.8 million is the sixteenth largest of all time, the second largest opening of 2014 behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($302.1 million), and the largest among The Hunger Games franchise.
In the U.S. and Canada, the film was released across 3,200 theaters on Thursday night, November 20, 2014 and was widened to 4,151 theaters on Friday, November 21, 2014. The film earned $17 million from Thursday night previews which is the biggest of 2014 but was lower than its two predecessors. It earned $55 million in its opening day which is the largest opening day of 2014 and the sixth largest in November but nevertheless still lower than its predecessors. It is the fifteenth film to debut on Friday with $50 million or more, and the nineteenth film to earn $50 million or more in a single day. The film topped the box office in its opening weekend with $121.9 million, and became the biggest opening of 2014 surpassing the $100 million record of Transformers: Age of Extinction as well as becoming the fifteenth largest, the 28th film to debut atop with over $100 million, and the only franchise to have three films earn over $100 million in a weekend. Its opening weekend is also the sixth-largest of November. However, its opening weekend gross was still relatively lower than the openings of The Hunger Games ($152 million) and Catching Fire ($158 million). In its second weekend the film remained at the summit earning $56.9 million and set a record for the third-highest 5-day Thanksgiving gross with $82.6 million behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($109.9 million) and Frozen ($93.6 million) and the fifth-highest 3-day Thanksgiving gross with $56.9 million. The film topped the box office for three consecutive weekends before being overtaken by Exodus: Gods and Kings in its fourth weekend. The film passed the $300 million mark in its 6th weekend (37 days later) and became the second film of 2014 to earn over $300 million at the box office after Guardians of the Galaxy. On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 61 days after its initial release, the film surpassed Guardians of the Galaxy and became the highest grossing film of 2014 in North America until it was surpassed by American Sniper in the next two months.
It earned $337.1 million at the North American box office making it the third highest grossing film in The Hunger Games franchise, the second highest-grossing film of 2014 (behind American Sniper), the fourth highest-grossing science fiction film based on a book, the fourth highest-grossing young-adult adaptation. and the thirty-sixth highest-grossing film in North America. It is also the first film to cross the $300 million mark without 3D or IMAX since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and also the highest-grossing non-3D, non IMAX film since Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006).
Outside North America, Mockingjay – Part 1 was also released on the same day in 85 other markets, with the notable exceptions of China, Japan and India, making it the widest release of any film in 2014. The film earned over $33 million in two days (Wednesday–Thursday) and $67.5 million in three days (Wednesday–Friday) from 17,000 screens. In its opening weekend overseas, the film earned $154.3 million from 17,963 screens in 85 markets which is 4% higher than Catching Fire. The film remained at number one in its second and third weekend overseas earning $67 million and $32.9 million respectively. In its fourth weekend, the film fell to number two as a result of being overtaken by The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
The film's top openings occurred in the UK, Ireland and Malta ($19.9 million), Germany ($13.7 million), Mexico ($12.1 million), Russia and the CIS ($11.1 million), France ($10.5 million), Australia ($10.1 million), Brazil ($8.8 million) and India ($5.1 million). The film also grossed $3.9 million in the Philippines. In China, where the film was released over two and a half months later — on February 8, 2015, it had a strong opening day with $9.87 million and went on to earn $31.4 million through its opening week, which is more than what Catching Fire earned through its entire run. The film had an unsuccessful opening in Japan with $500,000 debuting at eighth place at the Japanese box office and ended up making a mere $1.6 million after its run.
It became the highest-grossing Hunger Games film of all time in 31 countries including Brazil, Italy, Chile, Venezuela, Central America and Portugal.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 received moderately positive reviews from critics, with praise aimed at its political subtext and acting performances (particularly that of Lawrence), but criticism for its lack of action and the makers' splitting the source material for two separate adaptations. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 65% approval rating, based on 233 reviews, with an average score of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 sets up the franchise finale with a penultimate chapter loaded with solid performances and smart political subtext, though it comes up short on the action front." The film holds a Metacritic score of 64 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Both the The Telegraph and the Los Angeles Times, however, reported a mixed to average reception. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an "A-" grade, indicating positive reactions from paying viewers.
Cath Clarke of Time Out gave the film four out of five stars. She praised the politics as "tensely gripping" and felt it had a lot to say about the "ethical ambiguities of war." She praised Lawrence's performance as "strong, smart, stubborn, angry and full of heart" and noted it had grown "deeper and darker." Kevin Harley, who reviewed the film for Total Film, also awarded the film four out of five stars. He felt the film held up due to Lawrence's performance and solid supporting cast. He also offered praise to the action scenes and diverse story telling. He concluded that the movie was "gutsy" and managed to successfully divide the novel into a film "less on scraps than strategy" and "less on action than debates" though he noted this threatened to "distance viewers."
Robbie Collin awarded the film three out of five stars. In his review for The Telegraph, he praised the film for being "intense, stylish, topical, well-acted" and declared that it "remains one of the most fascinating, vividly realised fantasy landscapes in recent cinema." Despite praising Lawrence and Hoffman's performance, he felt the it was overcrowded with "two hours of preamble with no discernible payoff." He concluded that the film "fell short" and "could not be called satisfying." Henry Barnes of The Guardian also gave the film three out of five stars. He felt it offered "thrills" despite "lacking a solid structure" and featured "limp special effects." He was also critical of the "creaky script" and felt it lacked some of the "terror" of the previous installments. He did however praise the acting of Lawrence.
Todd McCarthy, who reviewed the film for The Hollywood Reporter, felt the installment was "disappointingly bland and unnecessarily protracted." He was critical of the film's leisurely pace and noted it felt "like a manufactured product through and through, ironic and sad given its revolutionary theme." Richard Corliss of Time felt the film was a placeholder for the second installment and noted "Lawrence isn't given much opportunity to do anything spectacularly right here."
On July 10, 2012, Lionsgate announced that the second part of the Mockingjay adaptation was set for a release on November 20, 2015. Francis Lawrence announced that he would return to direct the final part as well. It is the fourth and final film in the Hunger Games series.